Polygon: CDPR responds to sexualized trans advertisement in CyberPunk 2077 (Read Staff Post Before Posting)

Oct 31, 2017
41
I think their response to it was succinct.
The in-game ad didn't resonate with me negatively, but I can see how CDPR's past actions would elicit such a strong reaction from many after it was shown off/discovered.
 

Suicide King

Member
Oct 27, 2017
523
Where is any of that happening in 2077? still i get the hyperbole example. But lets deal with the reality in relation to the topic, but i'd say caution is certainly warranted. In that case though people interpret things as they see fit.
A team composed of predomantly white cis people is making a game portraying black men as thugs and trans women as sex objects, going so far as to mock accents and show them as offensive stereotypes, but said that it is supposed to be a portrait of how society treats minorities and that it is a commentary on social issues. Would that be acceptable? Mind you, I'm not even talking about what they did in other instances.
 
Oct 29, 2017
1,301
Honest question for people of color in this thread:
It's not exactly the same as what you're proposing, but BioShock Infinite is an example of a game that was swimming in blatantly racist imagery.

You can decide for yourself how successfully the game executed its message, but at the very least, depicting racist imagery is not the same thing as endorsing racist imagery.
 

Flipyap

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,308
How in the world are some of you accepting this response? It's spectacular how tone-dead and un-self-aware she comes off here.
If that really was their message, they should be fighting against their own game's existence. They are "the bad corporation doing bad things."
You can't expect to get a pass for claiming that you're trying to criticize something you consider to be harmful while indulging in and making money off of it.

The only difference between this fictional ad and their own marketing is that it portrays a trans person (or, to be more specific, that the fiction allows it to portray anyone but a cis-coded female character). There is nothing about it that would make it in any way more "dystopian" than the status quo CD Projekt helps perpetuate.
 

Cabbagehead

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,808
You know what might send that message more strongly? Actually doing more to center trans and non-binary people in what they’ve shown of the game.

Because that’s what the game is, supposedly, right? So is the lack of that in their messaging a “we suck at PR” thing, or is it a “we invented some bullshit because it turns out that people didnt like our ‘she has a dick lol’ joke” thing?
Have you played the game?
 
Oct 26, 2017
2,699
I got the sense that’s what they’re going for; I mean it’s a dystopian hyper capitalist future, why wouldn’t there be ads like that? It’s satirical in the sense that it’s an abusive depiction, and we see ads like that every day now but not nearly as extreme.
 

tuxfool

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,705
this is the dystopian cyberpunk future. there's no need for professionalism from corporations.
Professionalism is what society will find acceptable. Seemingly in this case what other corporations deem acceptable. There will still be conservative norms, but where that line is will certainly be different to today.
 

Icemonk191

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,239
Nailed it.

I think the explanation is crap. For the message here to be "Wow, look how even when trans identity is publicly accepted, it gets commercialized!" you would expect ads glamorizing the bodies of trans people in a way suggesting fashionability. The "Mix it up" slogan and obvious visual punchline of the ad instead makes the subject of the ad into a joke. If anything the intended takeaway initially read to me as "Wow, a woman with a penis, watch out for the horrors of the world that's coming!"
Yeah this explanation is Bullshit. Now I got to deal with a bunch of people saying stupid shit like "Looks like outrage culture strikes again" and "you guys are overreacting" 😒
 

Gestault

Member
Oct 26, 2017
5,967
I wish the designer was able to answer simply, "our intent that this be sympathetic to trans people comes across clearly in the rest of the game, but it's easy to see why it could be seen negatively when taken separately." Hearing them say they think the figure is attractive or other statements about intent that are totally divorced from the content itself aren't convincing, especially given the background radiation of the company's bigotry on this exact topic in the past.

I want to be understanding, because dystopian fiction can be a minefield if you're using a specific group as part of your symbol to convey social decay, but that's why you tread lightly when you use a specific, real-fucking-world marginalized group as your symbol of social decay.

The developers decided to showcase this specific footage and open themselves to criticism. If it requires context, supply the context. They have the opportunity.
Exactly.
 
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Kurdel

Member
Nov 7, 2017
8,164
Trying to their cake and eat it too.

Is there a graffiti minigame where you can deface these ads? How does your actions of the player counter this toxic advertisement that you are supposedly fighting against? Of course there isn't.

Such a ridiculou statement.
 

btags

Member
Oct 26, 2017
469
Rochester NY
Honest question for people of color in this thread: if a team composed of white people made a game portraying black men as thugs with big cocks and black women as sex objects, going so far as to call them the N-word, but said that it is supposed to be a portrait of how society treats people of color and that it is a commentary on social issues, would that be acceptable? Would you trust them to do that in a sensible manner? Not considering anything of their past.
If you are, and correct me if I am wrong, trying to compare this hypothetical to the topic at hand, I think the major difference is that one is an ad in the game that is, by the artist's words, meant to portray a disgusting misuse of a minority group to sell product. Whether that ends up being the case remains to be seen in the final game, and arguably it already has offended people so could certainly be considered in bad taste. So far, the game itself has not had a negative representation of trans characters though (at least in what I have seen, I haven't been following too closely).

That said, the game already apparently has some troubling racial stuff to discuss so there is that to consider.
 

Audioboxer

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,347
i get why people are upset but i also agree with him.
*Her

Shortly after the image showed up on my Twitter feed, I walked into CD Projekt’s meeting space at E3 and asked the company about it. I sat down with the artist responsible for creating it, Kasia Redesiuk. She’s one of the art directors working on Cyberpunk 2077.

Redesiuk joined CD Projekt Red years ago to create concept art for Cyberpunk 2077. She would eventually go on to become the art director for both Gwent: The Witcher Card Game and Thronebreaker: The Witcher Tales. Today, she’s responsible for all the in-fiction media in the environments of Cyberpunk 2077. That includes advertisements like this one, as well as branding for the game’s many megacorporations.
 

Alucrid

Member
Oct 25, 2017
4,583
Well, I don't set any "rules" myself, it's simply my perspective on how throughout history however sexualised mainstream media has gotten, it's always lagged behind where independent creators, the people or smaller corporations go.

The mainstream tends to be the most risk-averse and feel more concerned about blowback/complaints.

It sounds like you just really want to see penis in the game, and don't worry, I'm sure that will be the case. Minus going soo far they skirt with Sony/MS wanting an AO rating. Unfortunately, you do need to keep that in mind, the ESRB and PEGI have to rate this game and the platform holders allow it.
if they care about authorial intent they could simply release it on GOG DRM free. but if they only care about profit perhaps we're already living in cyberpunk 2077
 

Cabbagehead

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,808
Nailed it.

I think the explanation is crap. For the message here to be "Wow, look how even when trans identity is publicly accepted, it gets commercialized!" you would expect ads glamorizing the bodies of trans people in a way suggesting fashionability. The "Mix it up" slogan and obvious visual punchline of the ad instead makes the subject of the ad into a joke. If anything the intended takeaway initially read to me as "Wow, a woman with a penis, watch out for the horrors of the world that's coming!"
Wait that's how you view this?

"Mix it up" is a joke punchline, okay. But how does that make it not commercialized? or reside within the context of a corporation co opting a stereotype in the form of a sexualized visual and suggesting certain elements to sell. Especially given the timeline.

Its like company still using obvious racist stereotype types as logo's. I highly doubt its about watching out for the horror of a woman with a penis.
 

Kyra

The Eggplant Queen
Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,064
New York City
If this is the case then the game should not be toothless and not tackle this issue in any way. I think its a fine thing to have this kind of topic in this game especially, but it wont make anything better if it doesn't bear out in the game that a stance can be taken. So, I really look forward to how the events in the game can play out in regards to the issues it brings up.
 

halfbeast

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,049
Trying to their cake and eat it too.

Is there a graffiti minigame where you can deface these ads? How does your actions of the player counter this toxic advertisement that you are supposedly fighting against? Of course there isn't.

Such a ridiculou statement.
when real life is more cyberpunk than your cyberpunk. it's such an easy fix too.

 

Audioboxer

Member
Oct 25, 2017
14,347
if they care about authorial intent they could simply release it on GOG DRM free. but if they only care about profit perhaps we're already living in cyberpunk 2077
What?

Sounds like you're under the impression the artist is feeling hard done by the ad wasn't nude. Unless you've read something wrong, just seems like you're trolling. So 🤷‍♂️
 

Biestmann

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,323
Their explanation and alleged normalization of gender non-conformity in Cyberpunk 2077 rings hollow in a game that will only let you play as a male or female character.
 

Chandler

Member
Oct 25, 2017
772
I'm honestly quite disgusted how easily people are handwaving the possibility that this has any negative connotations towards transgender people and saying everyone who had an issue with it was jumping to conclusions and looking for things to be bothered by. Trans fetishization is a real thing and without context, that's literally what it looked like. Satire requires it to be obvious enough that it's not being presented as something the writer/ creator believes, but something they're mocking. CDPR doesn't have a good history, with several "jokes" to the expense of the LGBT+ community and half-assed "apologies", and we're supposed to just believe this is in good faith from face value? Without context, it looks bad. With context, CDPR is horrible with representation. It's really not hard to see why people had a problem with it in the first place, and why people may still have problems.

Personally, I think "It's meant to be offensive" doesn't excuse why it's offensive. Are most people really gonna feel angry over the evil fictional company using fetishization of trans women to fuel their own sales, and not just like "eww woman with a giant dick"? This kind of satire requires our world to see transgender people in a good light BEFORE using them to satirize a fictional evil company, or else they fall into a situation where people actually think the same way as the "evil corporation" does.
 

Trice

Member
Nov 3, 2018
1,380
Croatia
Sounds reasonable. I hope the artists stick to their vision and offer context and explanation later on, if it's not already obvious in the game. You can't please everyone.
 

Funyarinpa

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
6,749
I hope this signifies a better level of nuance about these matters by CDPR, and that we haven't seen much of how the game tackles these issues because it's harder (I would presume) to establish context for that sort of thing compared to shootybang. Did we even get a lengthy segment of world building yet?

This explanation makes sense to me and I'm happy to hear that at least one developer wants to give genderqueer people a prominent place in the game world. I'm not LGBTQ though, and I think still feeling concerned is perfectly understandable and valid, CDPR needs more than one (contentious) ad to make up for their track record, I think.
 

Suicide King

Member
Oct 27, 2017
523
It's not exactly the same as what you're proposing, but BioShock Infinite is an example of a game that was swimming in blatantly racist imagery.

You can decide for yourself how successfully the game executed its message, but at the very least, depicting racist imagery is not the same thing as endorsing racist imagery.
You are absolutely correct about Bioshock Infinite, even though it was way clearer about doing so because it was the entire theme of the game. Depicting racism is not the same as endorsing racism. What I am arguing, however, is the expectation that people should trust CDPR to do it.

Anyone can depict bigotry and criticize it. But when Charlie Hebdo depicts something offensive against christians is not the same as when it depicts something that offends muslims. There is an outsider element that makes satire way harder to do if you are not part of the oppressed group, and that makes it harder to trust the creation of said satire.

Such as:


Now, if someone from Eidos came up and said that it was intentional, maybe that would help. I have played the game, so I know it wouldn't because the rest of the game is not keen on those social issues. I have also not played Cyberpunk 2077, but I know CDPR, which is why it's so hard for me to trust them.
 

CesareNorrez

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,788
One of the problems with Satire in video games is that you control a character. And if your character cannot express dismay at things like, in this case, transphobia, then the satire will fall flat. The developer can talk all day about intent, but as soon as you give control to the player you better make sure that it’s obvious what is going on. And if you don’t think you can hit that mark, don’t do it or prepare to deal with the backlash.
 

Kaseoki

Member
Oct 27, 2017
411
To be honest isn't that what a lot of companies are already doing, taking advantage of pride and queer people? We talk a lot about this hyper masculine portrayal in gay culture and how its driving the 'sexy' norm in it. A lot of companies are behind this drive. So I'm not surprised it'd be the same in the future for trans people.
 

Vyrak

Banned
Jan 12, 2018
363
The developers decided to showcase this specific footage and open themselves to criticism. If it requires context, supply the context. They have the opportunity.
I mean, hasn't what they've shown done just that? I mean the entire game is about cancerous corporations exploiting this city and you are very specifically fighting against it.
 

Starviper

Member
Oct 25, 2017
697
Minneapolis
I think CDPR will do a good job of handling this sort of topic in their world, given the context provided in this instance. I understand how people may have been upset by it initially but the ad didn't ever strike me as mean or like they intended to offend people. My initial take was that the dick was comically large and it was a form of meta commentary on body modification, which the world is supposed to heavily revolve around.

I do hope that the English dialogue isn't as rough as it has been so far, and CDPR remains open regarding discussions like this. I wasn't really expecting them to comment on it but given the marketing behind the image I suppose they needed to say something, and the response provides a good deal of information IMO.
 

lowmelody

Member
Oct 25, 2017
956
Appeals to fictional settings and fictional
people in response to actual real maginalized people saying a thing is hurtful or reinforces negative stereotypes is never acceptable. Minorities are always put through the "well not every (minority) feels that way so checkmate, the cis/white chorus in the room know better." obstacle course.

Always weaponizing the minority of the minority against themselves, it's so old.